- Persimmon will reopen sales offices on May 15th with strict social distancing measures in place.
- The group's businesses in Scotland remain closed, pending further guidance from the government.
- The UK housebuilder did not resort to placing its workforce on furlough amidst COVID-19.
In an announcement on Thursday, Persimmon (LON: PSN) said that it has resumed around 65% of construction work after a COVID-19 driven temporary halt on operations. On 15th May, the company added, it will also reopen sales offices with strict social distancing measures in place. In Scotland, however, Persimmon will keep all of its sites closed for now.
The UK’s 2nd largest housebuilder also highlighted on Thursday to have completed 1,300 homes. Cancellation levels in the 8 weeks that ended on 10th May, as per the company, also matched historic trends.
Housing market is set to restart in England
The Coronavirus pandemic that has so far infected more than 229,500 people in the United Kingdom and caused over 33,000 deaths brought the housing market in England to a near halt in recent months. As PM Johnson’s government starts to ease restrictions, the housing market is set to restart with buyers and renters now permitted to move houses.
Leaders of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, however, decided in favour of keeping the stay-at-home orders in place. According to Persimmon:
“The group’s businesses in Scotland remain in shutdown, pending further guidance on a restart timetable from the Scottish government.”
During the lockdown that started in March, people were only allowed to move houses if reasonably necessary. Offices of the real estate agents and property viewings, however, was completely shut down to the public. As per CEO David Jenkinson of Persimmon:
“The urgent need for new homes has not been diminished by COVID-19 and the new measures announced by the government will reopen the housing market and allow people to get moving again.”
Persimmon did not furlough its workforce due to COVID-19
Despite challenges, the British housebuilder did not furlough its workforce amidst the pandemic. Persimmon also announced a requirement of a pre-booked appointment for sales consultations on Thursday.
The British company was reported 1.8% down in premarket trading on Thursday to 2,113 pence per share. At the time of writing, the stock has tanked further to 2029 pence per share that marks a roughly 25% decline in 2020 so far. In mid-March, Persimmon was reported trading as low as 1,546 pence per share.
Its performance in 2019, on the contrary, was reported fairly upbeat with an annual gain of roughly 35%. The York-headquartered housebuilder currently has a market cap of £6.47 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 7.62.